Q&A: EMC's Mark Lewis, EVP of Open Software Page 3 - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

Q&A: EMC's Mark Lewis, EVP of Open Software Page 3

Q: Further along the rivalry stack, on July 30 you announced significant advances to the DMX hardware line and in addition a couple of interesting software announcements, including snapshot software, SnapCopy, and the new version of the company's replication software that spans longer distances. VERITAS came at me with some interesting things to discuss regarding this. "With these software add-ons" — referring to the snapshot software and replication software — "EMC continues to chase a rapidly evolving storage market and remains well behind established industry leaders. VERITAS Volume Replicator software is the fastest growing replication software among the top 10 storage vendors, according to a recent Gartner report."

They went on to describe how EMC's new software has no file system capabilities and only works on its own high-end arrays. Then there is a quote from storage analyst Arun Taneja: "If EMC does not start to hustle in delivering inexpensive replication solutions, everyone is going to move away and do applications either from the network or some gadget in the middle of the fabric. This is a survival move for EMC. If they don't do it they are going to hurt." Are these fair assessments?

Well, it's funny. Things are both in fair context and not. You know it's usually fair to say that those statements are 100 percent accurate and 100 percent misconstrued in terms of what the true meaning is. My favorite is the stats from Giant Loop, because Giant Loop went out of business within I think a week of publishing that data. So it was pretty interesting that the customer VERITAS chose got no traction. The market will speak on these things.

We have focused our replication tools and what we've done with replication on our enterprise accounts — the global 2000. These companies are looking for deep capabilities in replication to manage business-critical applications, and none of them are using VERITAS. It's not that market. VERITAS has been attempting to build a market in the low end for replication, to which we do agree there is an entry-level market where we've had SnapView and MirrorView in the CLARiiON space and now additional capabilities in Symmetrix, but it's really not about a low-end versus high-end product in Symmetrix. Customers need full copies and replication for business continuance, and the snap copies make sense for efficiency.

So again, it's a high degree of rhetoric. It's "fastest growing" — when you don't have any market share, it's easy to be fastest growing — but that's not where we want to be. We will develop a very complete line of products, and with the acquisition of Legato we acquired a product called RepliStor, which is a host-based replication tool. Now, having said that, post-base replication is of limited use because it does require interaction with the file system, it does require that the host be running and so it cannot tolerate host failures, and it does require tie-in to the file systems, which in some applications is an advantage, but in most apps — again, we want to be able to do replications in a heterogeneous way, and it doesn't work in a heterogeneous way there.

So again, we talked about the right tool for the right job. We're working on building all the right tools, but we don't feel the tools that we have are bad, but in some cases we do need to extend the market. That's what we're doing. But there's no catch-up. Anyone using EMC BCVs would not even be contemplating — that's like someone using software RAID contemplating buying a Symmetrix. I don't know of a single player that is contemplating using the Microsoft RAID V they embed with Windows or buying a Sym. The difficulty is going to be for IBM and HDS, because now Shark and the HDS product line are at a significant competitive disadvantage, and that's where the competition will be.

Q:You've already mentioned ILM as the here and the now, but what other trends do you see unfolding in the storage space over the next five years? What will EMC do to accommodate these demands?

Storage will really separate itself as an infrastructure component, just as PCs did for access and just as networking did, so we believe that over time, that will become fairly complete. We don't believe that anything is going to stop that. So that's kind of the overarching mega-trend, and below that it says — again that we build in ILM as an overarching capability, and below that things like moving intelligence into the network from the server, and those tenets are really what we see, and for customers what we envision is what I really call making storage invisible.

We really see it as — if you look at a network today, while it's highly valuable and highly complex, and it's a great business, Cisco shows that it's invisible to you and me — it's not something you have to interact with. It's very automated and very well run, so there's lots of value, but it's invisible, and I think that's where we want to take storage. Ultimately while we still see value in the products, to the end-user customer that's consuming it, we really want to make it invisible.

Interview courtesy of internetnews.com.

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